Urban Crime: as Portrayed in Mystic River Essay

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In the movie “Mystic River”, directed by Clint Eastwood it focuses on three boys that grew up in the streets of Boston. The urban environment that they grew up in as children directly impacted their lives, as they got older. One big universal theme of the movies was urban crime; the movie displayed both sides of urban crime (the corrupt side as well as the investigators and law enforcement, also known as the “good side”). All of the urban crimes shown throughout this movie relate to the way the boys lives played out.

Within their urban neighborhood there existed such a closed social community that it is hard to believe that Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine and Dave Boyle came to grow apart at all, but the urban crime that was such a big part of their childhood and their community can be blamed for that. The first major crime portrayed in the movie was sexual abuse (and kidnapping). In general, sexual abuse as a child can cause people to become a certain way as an adult.

In this case just one traumatic crime affected all three of the main characters differently. The one that was sexually abused ended up killing pedophiles because he didn’t want other people to have to go through the same fate as he had. It is actually very usual for children involved in crimes to either grow up to become the same way or to try and put a stop to the same crime. Another ended up living a life of crime and violence just like he had witnessed as a young boy.

The third went on to become an investigator so he could help people and attempt to stop the growing rate of urban crime. When people are raised in a crime filled environment they are more likely to choose to live one extreme in their adult life; this is very commonly seen within urban areas. Another main part of the movie was Jimmy’s daughter, Katie, being murdered. This was important because it revealed two things about urban groups of people. In urban neighborhoods that have tight-knit communities like this, everyone knows everyone.

During the investigations of the murderer the closed community was very apparent because of all the connections that people had to each other, especially how the three main character were drawn back together because of a crime like this. Another thing to point out was how the young boys at the end of the movie (Katie’s murderers) came to possess a gun. In urban societies like Boston, people tend to have easy access to weapons. This easy access is one of the reasons there is so much violence in cities.

The issue I find to show one of the most important traits of urban crime is that Jimmy Markum ends up killing Dave Boyle because he was falsely led to believe Dave was the one who murdered his daughter. This displayed how little trust the corrupt people within urban environments put on law enforcement. Many places with an underground community attempt to solve crimes that directly themselves and provide their own justice because they do not have enough confidence in the real investigators ability to successfully solve cases.

One of the reasons for this is that many corrupt people try not to involve cops or other types of law enforcement. In the movie it even tells us it isn’t the first time that a problem has been dealt with under the radar; when Just Ray ratted on Jimmy and Jimmy’s group found out about it he was killed and thrown into the Mystic river too. Respect goes a long way inside most urban communities. The reason many of these urban groups are so close together is because they don’t let outsiders in, this includes police.

If you give access to information (like Just Ray did by ratting out Jimmy) then you quickly become shunned and they deal with you in whatever way they deem necessary. The final scenes of the movie play a big part of providing insight to the inner workings of an urban society. The fact that Sean is aware that Jimmy killed the wrong person (and a good friend from their childhood at that) and does not do anything about it even though he is supposed to follow the law being an investigator is interesting. Closed groups like this stick together and this just goes to show that even the good guys can often be corrupt in urban areas.

Another scene shows Jimmy telling his wife that he made a mistake by killing Dave and not only does she not find fault with it, she justifies it. There is a wide acceptance of underground criminal activities that occur in urban communities, even with cops. In many places cops can be bribed or they are known to be friends with the criminals which is one of the reasons a lot of people get away with the crimes they commit so easily. Urban crime is represented, as a key element in the movie, “Mystic River”. It is also very typical for American cities to have higher crime rates than that of rural or suburban areas.

Different areas have different cultures and ways of living that directly affect how people mature; in cities distinct cultures exist and segregation based on where people live (or their religion/ethnicity) is quite common. Many people end up living where they grew up which allows corruption to be passed down through the generations. There are a lot of politics and secrets that come along with these closed communities. In today’s world there is a lot of corruption everywhere but because urban areas tend to be more populated than other places they generally have more crime as a result of that.

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